I know there is a pretty decent chance that you read the headline for this article and wondered if I'd briefly slipped a gear, but stay with me here. Obviously, Xavier is your favorite college basketball team, but they are probably not the only team you support. I, for instance, have just watched the highlights (?) of my beloved Cleveland Indians losing a game by issuing two walks and a wild pitch in the ninth inning. Others may be counting the days until the Ohio State Buckeyes start their season. No matter how many teams you love, one must be paramount. Sometimes that just means cheering hardest for whoever is in season, sometimes you have to choose. If you do have to choose, allow me to lay out the case for the Xavier Musketeers.
1. Postseason play:
We're all friends here, so we can be honest, there's nothing like cheering for a winner. I'm not talking about becoming a Yankees fan in the 1990s or becoming an Ohio State fan because "I was born in Ohio, man." I'm talking about cheering for one of your teams that consistently wins. If you're from this great state with the oddly shaped flag, you've not had a good deal of winning to cheer for. Xavier, however, represents the counterpoint to all of that. What kind of season would disappoint you from the Musketeers this season? A first round loss? Not winning the Big East? The nice thing about Xavier is that not even going to the NCAA tournament barely seems like a possibility. The last time Xavier went more than one year without making the tournament was 1998-2000. Since then, only the transition years of 2012-13 and 2004-05 have failed to yield a tournament team. Cheering for Xavier means seeing your team play when it matters.
2. The collegiate experience:
There's something different between a professional game and collegiate one. In baseball, the two don't really compare at all thanks to a well developed minor league system and high school draft picks. In football, the NCAA is basically just minor league football. Basketball is a bit different. Not a minor league in that there are other ways into the NBA (or Europe) and not robbed of high school talent thanks to the one and done rule, college ball has carved a niche where the truly elite mix with guys who are living their dream the moment they pull on a practice jersey. Combine that with crowds composed mostly of college students and you get an experience wholly unlike anything any other league offers up. The only thing that comes close to matching the passion of the crowds is the English Premier League and, aside from being in England, those tickets cost around $90 just to get into the building.
3. Pride in being unique:
It might not seem like it on this site or on your Twitter timeline, but Xavier fans aren't terribly common. Throw on your favorite team shirt and go out near where I live and you'll generally get a lot of "Eggsavier" or questions about where exactly that team comes from. More often than not, you'll get blank stares from all but plugged in college basketball fans. Xavier doesn't have football and the non-revenue sports, excellent as they are, don't draw that much attention. Being a Xavier fan, the kind of fan that remembers Alvin Brown and Keith Jackson as well as Tu Holloway and Jordan Crawford, carries with it a kind of social cachet akin to finding the next great band before any of your friends do.
There are many more reasons, of course, for Xavier to be your favorite team. They may play your personal favorite sport, be your alma mater, or just have captured your heart when you were a kid. No matter what it is, the Musketeers are well worthy of that spot just a little bit higher than all the rest.